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NFL says union is creating a false impression of discipline discussions

Executive director of the NFL Players Association Smith and NFL Commissioner Goodell speak outside the NFL Players Association Headquarters in Washington

Executive director of the NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith (L) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (R) speak outside the NFL Players Association Headquarters in Washington July 25, 2011. The NFL and players have agreed to terms to end their four-month lockout and ensure America’s most professional sport will go ahead as planned next season. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)


The NFL disagrees with the players’ union’s contention that the league has changed course in talks about potentially changing the league’s disciplinary process.

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith sent an email to the union’s executive committee and said that the NFL has taken “a massive step backwards from where negotiations stood several weeks ago.”

But NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says the union is trying “to create a false public impression of our discussions.” The league says the union is just posturing and not trying to find common ground for both sides to improve the disciplinary process.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has indicated that he’s open to changing his own role in the disciplinary process, but at today’s league meeting he reiterated that he wants negotiations with the union about changing his role to happen in private, not in public.

“I said at the Super Bowl that we’re not going to negotiate positions publicly,” Goodell said today. “On the other hand, I’ve also been very open over the last several years that we have had discussions about the discipline process for decades. We began after we signed our Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011 to discuss how we could modify the existing plan and we’re always open to that. I’ve said that before. If we could find a better discipline system let’s do it. We are not close to an agreement by any stretch of the imagination on any changes to that as it relates to a third party or other individuals making those decisions, but we are open to them. We will continue to have that dialogue directly with the union and if we can come up with a better system, we’ll announce it at that point.”

At the moment, the league and the union don’t appear close to reaching an agreement.